Writing: self-soothing for adults

Greetings blog world!  For those that might not know, Jane Martyn is actually two friends writing a fantasy adventure novel together, aimed at middle-school children.  So far, you’ve heard from Kate, but now it’s time to introduce myself and tell you a little more about our book.

I am Kate’s elusive literary teammate, Sarah Martyn Crowell.  Just about the time we launched this blog (and finished our novel) I gave birth to my daughter, Alexandra Jean Crowell, now simply “Alex”.  As I near her 6 week birthday, I am excited to continue the journey of “The Kalon Quests” that Kate and I started one year ago.

Being a new mother, I find the novels I was used to reading are quickly being replaced with parenting material.  There are more suggestions than I can keep up with, but one theme that I see over and over again is encouraging self-soothing and – down the road – developing the ability to self-entertain.

As I think about this advice, it reminds me of the imaginary worlds I created to “entertain” myself as a child.  There was always a good side, a bad side, and I existed in the no-mans land in between.  I remember some of the quirky details, such as the leader of the bad side was named Fireball.  And while the good and bad sides often opposed each other, the good side wasn’t always right and the bad side wasn’t always wrong.  I used this landscape not only to create fun stories and imaginary friends but also as a way to test my own feelings of right and wrong, good and bad.

Fast forward some 20+ years and I find myself creating an imaginary world as my “hobby.” For me, writing and the creative process is my adult version of “self-entertaining/self-soothing”.

Akin to my childhood world, our characters find themselves in a no-mans land, having to choose between two sides: one good and one not-so-good.  The choices they make and the way they develop in this magical world, called Telios, affect who they become in our world, just as my childhood imaginary world was an internal testing ground for the morals I would later develop. It’s a process I think all children undergo, and one we really wanted to highlight in The Kalon Quests (you can read more about our book on our website, link at left).

In my blog posts to come, I will introduce you to some of the characters in our world and our inspiration behind them.  Now that I am re-entering a (mostly) normal life again, Kate and I are resuming our book editing and looking forward to a final product in 2014!

As a curious cub, I’d like to know, what are your adult self-soothing habits?  What type of imaginary worlds did you once create or do you see children creating now?

Sarah and Alexandra Jean!

7 thoughts on “Writing: self-soothing for adults

  1. I think it is unfortunate that as adults we are discouraged from having imaginary friends and worlds. However, when I was deciding on a career change, one piece of advice I received was to pick a career and pretend you are in it-have pretend conversations with people about your “new” job or what you “do” and consider how it makes you feel out how you like to talk about it. While it is definitely not as fun as when I used to pretend I was lost in a haunted forest or lived in a castle, it was a process not unlike what you described in regards to trying on morals for size. As adults, I think our imagination plays second fiddle to TV, FB, distractions etc and these become our self-soothers. I will go out on a limb and admit though that when I was hopelessly obsessed with Lost I used to secretly wish I could crash on an island and imagine what I would do if I were in the situations on the show. 🙂

    • Karen, thanks for the comment! You’ve made me really want to watch Lost. I’ve had many friends who were obsessed w/ that show so apparently you weren’t alone in it appealing to people’s imagination.

  2. My self-soothing habits keep changing as my life changes. Reading is always there, to some degree, and writing is often there. Sewing, scrapbooking, gardening, and vacuuming are now at the top of the list. When everything else feels crazy, vacuuming the house just seems to make it all seem manageable!

    • Lisa, thanks for the comment! I love that vacuuming is self-soothing for you. I’m exactly the opposite…vacuuming is the thing that I always almost get to on my to-do list 🙂

  3. Interesting question, and welcome Sarah. BTW-my daughter’s name is Sarah Kate-I definitely will remember your names! Can’t wait to hear about your book, and the co-authoring! As a child, I spent a lot of time reading, then re-creating some of those plots in scenes, which I then directed my cousins in dramas! We did a lot of pretending, used crazy ‘grab anything’ costumes, and performed mightily for all the family. As for adulthood, I guess my best imagining goes into poetry, the writing and the creating. I am sad that so many kids are so structured that they don’t have time for just playing, & hope that can change as people begin to realize it should!

  4. Writing and Creativity: Struggling to Finish What I’ve Started | About an Introvert

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